NRA has been criticized by our opponents for contending that those seeking to wreak mass violence on innocents choose their targets based on the likelihood that they will meet armed resistance, and that armed citizens could assist in halting this type of violent attack. As part of their efforts, gun control activists and their allies in the media have frequently lampooned NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s astute remarks that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The bankruptcy of this anti-gun position was exposed late last week when details from an FBI terrorism investigation revealed that an alleged ISIS supporter chose the target for a planned terrorist attack because it was a gun-free zone.
A notable example of our opponents’ error on this matter is a commentary from March 25, 2013 edition of USA Today penned by Mother Jones Editor Mark Follman. Titled, “The NRA's gun-free zone myth,” the item characterizes NRA’s argument as “killers deliberately choose sites where firearms are forbidden, gun-rights advocates say, and because there are no weapons, no ‘good guy with a gun’ will be on hand to stop the crime,” then labels it, “Sound bite sophistry.” USA Today has exhibited an appetite for this position, as on December 11, 2015 they gave platform to another commentator for an item titled “The 'good guy with a gun' myth.” The writer contended that if a terrorist were to be met with armed resistance, “we’d have a lot more dead innocents.”
For its part, Bloomberg’s Everytown has gone to great lengths to perpetuate the notion that the ability to lawfully carry is not a deterrent to mass killers, going so far as to produce a misleading analysis of mass shootings since 2009. The Everytown analysis contended that 86 percent of mass public shootings took place in areas where guns were permitted. However, a closer inspection by former University of Chicago Professor John Lott revealed numerous errors in Everytown’s work. Lott concluded that a mere 8 percent of mass shooting occurred in public places where people were allowed to carry.
Following an FBI investigation that culminated last week, the dubious speculations of media commentators or the flawed findings of Everytown should hold little purchase.
On February 4, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint against a Dearborn Heights, Mich. man in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for a violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3), which makes it unlawful for anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” to possess a firearm. The complaint alleges that on two occasions the subject lied on ATF Form 4473 while purchasing a firearm, as he was in fact a drug user.
The FBI began investigating the man in May 2015 after learning of threats he made about “committing acts of terror and martyrdom… on behalf of the foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.” The complaint goes on to note that the individual repeatedly promoted the terrorist group on using social media.
During its investigation, the FBI engaged with the man using an undercover asset. The man told the undercover asset, “I tried to shoot up a church one day. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s close to my job. It’s one of the biggest ones in Detroit. Ya, I had it planned out.” The subject then told the asset why he chose the church, stating, “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church.”
Policymakers across the country should allow the heinous statements of this ISIS supporter to inform their policy decisions regarding the efficacy of gun-free zones. Moreover, Michiganders should know that Michigan Compiled Laws section 28.425o(3) bans Right-to-Carry permit holders from carrying on “Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official or officials of the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship permit the carrying of concealed pistol on that property or facility.” Church officials should use their discretion wisely in light of these events.